Octasulfur

Octasulfur

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Octasulfur is a cyclosulfane with the molecular formula S8. It is a simple yellow coloured sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

. It is also the final member of the thiocane heterocylic series, where every carbon is substituted with a sulfur atom.

Octasulfur exists as three distinct polymorph
Polymorphism (materials science)
Polymorphism in materials science is the ability of a solid material to exist in more than one form or crystal structure. Polymorphism can potentially be found in any crystalline material including polymers, minerals, and metals, and is related to allotropy, which refers to chemical elements...

s, rhombohedral, and two monoclinic forms, of these only two are stable at standard conditions. The rhombohedral crystal form is the accepted standard. The remaining polymorph is only stable between 96 °C and 115 °C at 100 kPa, above 115 octasulfur starts to slowly disproportionate. However, if heated fast enough, with minimal degradation, octasulfur will melt at 119 °C, before being completely degraded above 159 °C.

Octasulfur forms several sulfur allotropes:

α-Sulfur

β-Sulfur

γ-Sulfur

λ-Sulfur

λ-Sulfur is the liquid form of octasulfur, from which γ-sulfur can be crystallised by quenching. If λ-sulfur is crystallised slowly, it will revert back to β-sulfur. Since it must have been heated over 115 °C, neither crystallised β-sulfur, or γ-sulfur will be pure. The only known method of obtaining pure γ-sulfur, is by crystallising from solution.

Octasulfur easily forms large sized crystals, these crystals are typically vivid yellow in colour, and are somewhat translucent. As is typical of other crystalline compounds, pulverised sulfur is completely different in appearance - it is a paler colour, and opaque as is shown in the image.